Initially, it was called the Norilsk Second Polar Theater, the First Polar Theater was at that time located in Igarka. The troupe of the Norilsk theater consisted of the artists of the Igarka theater, the disbanded Achinsk theater, the prisoners of the Norillag. On October 13, 1941, at the end of navigation, a small group of actors arrived in Dudinka with one of the last steamers. On November 6, at the Miners’ Club, the evacuated artists played the first production of the Strict Times – about the Great Patriotic War. This is how the first theatrical season in Norilsk opened: they staged Goldoni’s Hotel Hostess, Simonov’s Wait for Me, Ostrovsky’s Late Love and the lyrical comedy Gardens Blossom by Mass and Kulichenko.
The official date of the theater creation in Norilsk was February 19, 1942. The theater was equipped with its own premises on Gornaya Street – in the former canteen of the 2nd camp department: they added a stage, dressing rooms. Since 1947, a special bus was going there from Gorstroy, one could use theater tickets to travel by it. Almost from the day of its foundation, the Norilsk theater went on tour, starting with Dudinka and Dikson. The troupe included such stars as Innokenty Smoktunovsky, Georgy Zhzhenov, Vsevolod Lukyanov, Eda Urusova.
In 1953, in the building on Gornaya Street, the foundation began to sink: the theater moved to Sevastopolskaya, 20, to a branch of DITR, where there was a club and cinema. That building was the cultural center of Norilsk for over 30 years, until it burned down on February 23, 1987. At that time, the theater moved to Leninsky Prospekt, but a lot of equipment still died in the fire (workers were talking about arson then).
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Text: Svetlana Samokhina, Photo: Nornickel Polar Division archive